by Marc Hurwitz
A nonprofit "pay-what-you-can" concept from a chain of bakery-cafes is closing its final location, which happens to be in the heart of downtown Boston.
According to a poster within the Friends of Boston's Hidden Restaurants Facebook group page, Panera Cares Community Cafe at Center Plaza is shutting down, with a Bloomberg article confirming this, saying that the eatery will close on February 15 because the business model was not sustainable. The Bloomberg post mentions that an email from Panera Bread says "Despite our commitment to this mission, it's become clear that continued operation of the Boston Panera Cares is no longer viable....We're working with the current bakery-cafe associates affected by the closure to identify alternate employment opportunities within Panera and Au Bon Pain."
Panera Cares, which opened its Boston location six years ago, looked to the concept as being a way to address hunger with customers giving a suggested donation for their food items--and those donations would presumably cover the operating costs of the shop while also allowing free food to people who could not afford to pay. Other Panera Cares locations in Chicago, Portland, OR, Dearborn, MI, and Clayton, MO have closed down, according to the article.
The address for Panera Cares is 3 Center Plaza, Boston, MA, 02108.
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A related post from our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants): List of Restaurant Closings and Openings in the Boston Area